Friday, January 27, 2017

Five Things for Friday

1. Last week Sam's car won his Cub Scout pack's Pinewood Derby against ~15 other cars. He was so excited! That means he's eligible to race it at the regional Pinewood Derby race in April. Good job Peter Sam!
They worked on it together, but let's face it, Sam is 7 and can't use power tools to cut wood yet. Peter did the designing and wood-cutting and he was the mastermind of the strategic use of weights on the car and graphite on the wheels. Luckily for our sons, Peter is somewhat of a Pinewood Derby car-designing master! 

I didn't take many good pictures that night, as you can see.

2. I saw this amazing backpack on amazon this week. It's the design from the stained glass in the Beast's castle in Beauty and the Beast.

I really, really like it. This has been my thought process about getting it or not over the last few days:

It's cute, but I don't need a backpack. I already have lots of bags. And I rarely use backpacks.

But it's so unique, and it's one of my favorite movies. I could get it for my collection of things devoted to my favorite things.

I really don't need it. 

But I want it.

Is it more for kids? Would I look like a dork using it? 

Probably and maybe, depending on where and how I use it. 

Is it worth $40 to me?


To just hang in a closet or be displayed somehow in your hobby room? 

Hmmm. Yes, I think so. 

Where would I realistically use it?

-- Lightbulb goes off --

This would be the perfect bag for schlepping around DisneyWorld with, and one totally appropriate for the experience. It would also be a fun bag to use for port excursions on our next Disney cruise, which happens to be in March when the movie comes out, which I'm planning on seeing in the movie theater on the ship. 


3. We've had a snow drought in our corner of Iowa this month. It's been very disappointing for several reasons, one of them being this: last month the boys discovered a great sledding hill that's been hiding in the field behind our house and they haven't been able to use it since before Christmas because all of the snow from our snowy December melted away soon after Christmas.

This is what it's looked like almost all month:

And there have been some days that felt like early spring! I'm fine with that at the end of February and in March, but not really in January. I like when the four seasons behave properly. And I love snowstorms!

We finally, finally got some snow on Wednesday, so now it looks like this:

We got a dusting. It's better than nothing!

 Here's confirmation from the local news the other night that I'm not exaggerating about our snow drought:

This is one of the least snowiest Januarys (Januaries?) in the past 125 years. It will be the least snowiest in recorded history if we don't get much more snow in the remaining days of the month, and guess what? There's not much, if any, in the forecast.
(That's my first time using emojis on the blog! It's so great that Blogger is using emojis now!)

4. Below is a quote from Margaret Nadauld, who was the general Young Women president of the church when I was a teenager. I've always liked it.

This week I saw this quote posted on Facebook a few times, I think in response to the Women's Marches that took place on Saturday. I didn't really mind the Women's Marches and I respect their right to speak up for what they believe in, but some of the speakers (like Madonna) and some of the signs and other things I saw on the news and from people I know who were there were vulgar and over-the-top. It's my aim to be more like the refined woman described above, especially when I'm unhappy about things happening in the world or in my life. Behaving that way and effecting positive change don't have to be mutually exclusive.  

5. I went to a junior high meeting the other night for parents of incoming 7th graders in the fall. I can't believe John is going to be done with elementary school and moving on to junior high in a few short months. I'm sad, a little worried, and a little excited, all at the same time. It's crazy how fast time passes! It will be weird to be the parent of a junior high-schooler. Then I'll get used to it, and two years later I'll be freaking out about being the parent of a high-schooler!  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Things for Friday

1. I saw this beautiful new movie poster for Beauty and the Beast (thanks to my friend Cheryl, who posted it on Facebook). I'm so excited for this movie! It's my long-time favorite. Disney will do it right again; I have complete trust in their amazing abilities! 

2. Speaking of Facebook, I've stopped going on it as much but I'm glad I still do sometimes like for the reason above. I've got a new plan that I've been following for the last few weeks for internet and social media use. In order to be on screens less and get in control of my emails (of which I get too many; it's my own fault--I like subscribing to things and reading all sorts of articles that I don't really have time for), I've been doing the following things:
I deleted the Facebook app from my phone and iPad, so now I only go on Facebook when I'm on the computer, which makes me a lot more deliberate and mindful about when I use it.
I haven't gone on Instagram in a year-and-a-half and I don't plan on using it again.
Twitter, Snapchat, etc.: no chance.
I still love Pinterest and I don't use it nearly as much as I'd like to. I hope to change that over the course of this year.   
As for email, I've been checking it three times a day for ten minutes each time. This is helping me to stay on top of it a lot better and to stop checking my devices for email throughout the day. I also have a designated day each week (Wednesday) where I go through the past week's emails, and one of the tasks on my monthly to-do list is to go through and clean out the past month's emails.

As a funny, kind-of-related aside, my recent experience with Facebook is this:  

Ha ha! I'll be seeing less of you this year, Facebook!

3. My city is a literary, academic, New Englandy type of college town (which I love) and it has a great public library that we've been using every week since the start of the new year (which isn't saying much since we're only two weeks in, but I think it's already more than we used this library all of last year). They have some great children's programs; Sam goes to a math club there once a week (he loves math) and sometimes to a weekly STEAM-based club. Last week he made this Lego structure there and it was out on display when we returned this week. He was so proud!

"Water Spout Castle by Sam"

While Sam was ascending to Lego greatness in the club room, I was reading a book (instead of scrolling through Facebook on my phone!) and when I looked up at the nearby wall I saw a row of pretty profile drawings embellished with little pearl pins. I took pictures of my favorites, and here they are. I love people's artistic talents! (And the libraries that display them.)

4. January is my least favorite month of the year. I was thinking this week about every month and what happens in it, and I determined that January is definitely and consistently the least pleasant month for me. It's not terrible but it's not great. Fortunately it's nearly halfway over!

Although I love the snow...of which we've been getting NONE. :-(

5. Five things on this weekend's to-do list:
Decorate for Valentine's Day (yay for February!)
Spend time editing the book manuscript I'm working on (a client's, not my own)
Get a massage
Have the missionaries over for dinner on Sunday and cook the entire meal myself!
Finish my book and start reading Victoria

May your Friday the 13th be a happy one!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Five Things for Friday

Five Things I'm Looking Forward to in January!

1. I'm excited to watch this show on Masterpiece Theatre on PBS: Victoria
It starts on January 15th. It's going to be good! 

The Young Victoria is one of my favorite movies, and it looks like this show will follow in its great footsteps! 

2. In that same vein, I'm looking forward to reading this book that I got for Christmas, Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. 

The show on Masterpiece is based on this novel, for which Goodwin did extensive research from Queen Victoria's daily journals--the direct source! Daisy Goodwin is an author I've read before (American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter) and she writes very good historical fiction, which is one of my favorite genres to read.

3. Another PBS Masterpiece period drama, this one returning for its second season: Mercy Street.
It's a Civil War drama set in Virginia, right on the line between North and South. It's grisly at times, but it's good!

4. I can't resist! One more PBS show (are we sensing a theme here? That I love PBS?), this one on Masterpiece Mystery: the fourth season of Sherlock, a mystery show that is sometimes so fast-moving that it leaves me wondering if I'm smart enough to watch it (in my defense, this is a common feeling for many other Sherlock watchers, according to a Facebook group I belong to called Sherlock Dumbos. Ha! Just kidding.). 
I'm glad that Benedict Cumberbatch is back as Sherlock Holmes, especially since he's a big movie star now (did you see Doctor Strange? It was good!). I'm a little worried that because of his movie stardom that this might be the last season. They already killed off a main character in the first episode this week. It made me cry. 

5. I'm looking forward to Inauguration Day. The TV coverage will be fun to watch. I love all the pomp and circumstance of our American traditions. 
{Democratic friends and family, of which I have many, brace yourselves for my next paragraph!}
I'm excited for the Republicans to take control once again and I'm hopeful that our unconventional political outsider of a new president will be able to effect some positive, much-needed change in this country and in the world. I've been very unhappy with Obama and a lot of what has happened under him, which makes me sad because I had high hopes for him (as evidenced by my post here from Inauguration Day in 2009). I don't like Trump very much but the main reason I voted for him was to vote against Obama and the continuation of his agenda, which surely would have happened under Clinton. Trump may prove to be a disaster (to use one of his favorite words), but just like I did for Obama, I'm going to give him a chance and see how he does. I feel hopeful and more optimistic about the future than I did before. We'll see what happens.

A few other things I'm looking forward to in January: snowstorms (hopefully--all of our snow has melted away and there is no snow in the forecast--I check every day), my daily mug of hot cocoa, and enjoying a crackling fire in the hearth--we finally started using our fireplace last month for the first time in over six years of living in this house!

I probably won't be on the blog a lot in January because I have an editing work project to do, but I'll do what I can when I can!